A popular dish, often served in homes across the Azores Islands in Portugal. Azores comfort food
This roasted mackerel is a popular rustic dish served all across the Azores islands. Mackerel is a delicious fish that’s easy to find on the islands and here in Canada. It’s still very reasonably priced, which makes it a popular option for quick everyday meals.
Does it take long to make this dish?
Not at all! Give the potatoes a quick fry, then place them around the fish in a baking dish or roasting pan, and cover in the sauce. Thirty minutes in the oven and you’re ready to eat!
Do I need to fry the potatoes?
You can boil them if you prefer to keep things a bit healthier, but the fried browned edges on the potatoes makes for a crispier, tastier option, in my personal opinion. Everything in moderation… we rarely deep-fry food at our home, so we don’t feel guilty when we do. For this dish, though, if you choose to fry them, as we did, remember not to cook the potatoes fully through when frying. They’ll finish cooking in the oven with the fish. Same rule applies if you opt to boil the potatoes—keep them under-cooked.
Mom’s version of Azores roasted mackerel
As I’ve mentioned in the past with other Portuguese recipes, I never claim to have the original recipe. I’ve tasted other modified versions of the same dish from other cooks and they were all delicious. This is the version I grew up with at my parent’s home and I absolutely love it.
I called my mom on the morning of the day I made this dish to be sure I got all the details from her so I could make it just like mom. I’m so glad I have this connection with my mom, to my youth, and to the life I had in the Azores before returning to Canada. I’m a lucky guy. I don’t take that for granted.
Give this version a try or customize this recipe to make it your own. However you choose, just make today yummy!
Portuguese-style roasted mackerel and potatoes (cavala assada com batata)
- 2.6 lbs whole mackerel gutted and cleaned (about three small whole fish)
- 3 lbs Yukon gold or russet potatoes you can use white or red skin potatoes in a pinch, peeled, washed and chopped into about 1 1/2 inch pieces
- Vegetable oil enough to pan deep-fry the potatoes
- Fresh parsley sprigs for garnish
- 1.5 cups white wine
- 1/3 cup olive oil plus a little extra to drizzle at the bottom of the roasting dish/pan
- 1/3 cups tomato paste
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 medium size cooking onion finely chopped
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 425°F
- Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan to medium or 375°F.
- Pat down the potato pieces with paper towel.
- Fry the potatoes until the edges start to brown, but without cooking them completely through. Should take about 5 minutes. They’ll finish cooking in the oven.
- Use a slotted spoon to move the browned potatoes to a paper towel-lined dish.
- In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together all the sauce ingredients.
- Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the bottom of the roasting dish/pan.
- Place the three mackerel side-by-side on the bottom of dish.
- Add the potatoes around the fish.
- Pour the sauce evenly over the fish and potatoes.
- Place the dish/pan on the middle rack of the oven and roast for about 30 minutes.
- Add the sprigs of parsley over the fish and potatoes and serve hot.